Wednesday, 15 May 2013

It's capitalism not "fair" trade that lifts people out of poverty...


It always depresses me to see people who are essentially caring led down a path that really isn't in the interests of those they care about:

An early signatory to the petition, Mrs Palframan has been invited by the Fairtrade Foundation to help hand in the petition to the Prime Minister. 

And the petition well Mrs Palframan sums it up:

“Despite producing 70 per cent of the world’s food, over half the world’s hungriest people are smallholder farmers who struggle to earn a living from their crops.

“Unless they receive support and improvements to terms of trade, they will remain in crisis due to an unjust food system.

“The farmers still only get a tiny proportion of what we pay for our food and agriculture needs to be made much more sustainable to create food security.” 

The truth, of course, is that these farmers are subsistence farmers - living mostly off the things they raise or grow and selling what small surplus they have for the small amounts of cash they need.  The problem is that people such as the Fairtrade Foundation and Oxfam wish to keep these poor farmers scrabbling in their tiny, unsustainable smallholdings. I'm guessing that, Mrs Palfreman, living in Ilkley as she does, isn't struggling to feed her family from a tiny small holding on the side of the moor! So why does she want to keep people in faraway places in that condition rather than seeing them get the same chances we have?

We've seen the fastest reduction in world poverty in our history over the last decade - over a billion people saved from poverty. This is brilliant but can we remember that it wasn't fair trade, in wasn't aid and it wasn't the hectoring of Oxfam that did this. If we'd followed their prescription that massive decline in poverty would not have happened.

What caring people should know is that is was capitalism, free trade, property rights and that evil neoliberalism that saved that billion from poverty. And, if we let it, capitalism will get the rest of the world's poor out of poverty too. And, you know folks, that means that just as we aren't subsistence smallholders all those Africans won't be smallholders either.


No comments: